A Breakfast, Some Presents & Lots of Hugs

Since I promised to leave town within the next two weeks, some of the Ottawa Bloggers threw me a surprise farewell breakfast this morning. I wasn’t completely surprised since it had been announced on Zoom’s blog a few weeks ago, but I pushed my face into its most surprised configuration anyway.

It’s been a long time since we all got together for breakfast, so it was really, really nice to see everyone.

Probably the very best thing about my four years in Ottawa has been the blogging community. Not that I didn’t love the Ottawa winters, or the city’s gourmet cuisine, or OC Transpo, or living this close to Stephen Harper….

But seriously, aside from a few neighbours and some people at work, the bloggers were pretty much my social network here.

I think I met Zoom first and then Hella Stella and Robin. For a while it was just the four of us who’d breakfast together every once in a while. Then Zoom and I decided we should expand the breakfast group, so the next time we invited about 10 other bloggers. That was such a success, we decided to go hog wild and invite every single Ottawa blogger we could get an email address for – and lo, the bi-monthly Ottawa Bloggers’ Breakfast event was born.

From that things snowballed into the brainchild of Lynn’s Blog Out Loud Ottawa (BOLO), which, since its first year in 2009, has been incredibly successful. Bloggers, some of whom no one has ever heard of before, come out each year to read their work, have a few drinks and network with the blogging community. (By the way, the next BOLO is July 7th at 7:00 pm at the Prescott…and I can’t be there…sniff…sniff)

All in all, I had over 100 names on our Ottawa Bloggers’ Breakfast mailing list and I’m sure Lynn has at least that many other names again on her mailing list.

There are a lot of bloggers in Ottawa.

Anyway, the brunch was great. And there was a surprise within a surprise when the gang hauled out a suitcase jam-packed full of farewell gifts for me!! The gifts were amazing – from home-baked bread and crafts to gift cards, bags, a travel mug and a hip flask, to disco shoes and a home-made 48-page booklet of every Toronto statistic imaginable. And, I got to keep the suitcase!!

Best of all, the Mindful Merchant, is very kindly going to haul Bazel and me to Hogtown the week after next so we can meet up with our belongings. So she and I will get to spent many more hours of quality time together. Mwah-ha-ha.

This morning, I didn’t really get to express my regret at leaving this great bunch of people. They tried to make me give a speech, but it was very short and very lame – mainly because I was afraid I was going to start blubbering.

However, if I’d known ahead of time that I was going to have to give a speech, I would have written something. I probably would have said that I really can’t imagine what life in Ottawa would have been like without The Bloggers.

I would have mentioned that aside from the breakfasts and BOLO and all the other times I’ve spent with many of them individually or in smaller groups – some of these people have become good friends. Friends that I hope to maintain a friendship with whether we live in the same town or not. You know who you are!!

I would really have wanted to tell them that what I find particularly interesting about The Bloggers is that we are all such different people – we come from very different places and have had a wide variety of different life experiences. We spend our days in very diverse ways. We agree on some things but disagree vehemently on others. There is a more than 30 years age range in the group. And yet, we can sit down together for hours (without booze) and thoroughly enjoy each others’ company. Everyone is supportive and generous and encouraging of each other; both in person and online.

And then I would have thanked them profusely for the wonderful send-off – particularly Zoom and Laura for organizing the whole thing.

And then I would have wrapped things up by saying:  “Thank you all for welcoming me into your community and for sharing your good times with me and for trusting me enough to share your sad times as well – thank you for making life in Ottawa special.”

And then I would have quickly looked away and pretended I had something in my eye.

21 responses to “A Breakfast, Some Presents & Lots of Hugs

  1. I was interested that none of the “going to live in TO” gifts were duplicated, especially since I don’t think there was any collusion in who was giving what. We were just told that it would be fun to give you something that might be useful in the big city. I thought the horn was a great idea. I should have one on one of my bikes – maybe. I still think a paint ball gun would be more effective.

    Don’t forget to write!

  2. Aww, that was beautiful. I’m going to miss you, my friend, but we’ll always have blogs and Facebook and email and twitter and trains and buses. I know we’ll stay in touch.

  3. It’s better this way. If you had given a fantabulous speech, you wouldn’t have been able to remember or reproduce it for the greater blogsphere like you did here.

    You should come back and visit. That way the gang can get together when you leave again!

    – RG>

  4. Trashy – Ya.Will do.

    Mary Lynn – Oh ya! I keep forgetting that there are bloggers in other parts of the province. You’re in Markham or something aren’t you?

    Julia – I would love to have a paintball gun. But I’d get in a lot of trouble — those things would be perfect for just zapping people who, for example, are out on your street hooting and hollering at 3:00 am

    Sean – You’re a week ahead of me. What part of the city will you folks be living in?

    Zoom – And planes and cars! Remember back in the old days when someone moved to the next town…they’d toss their gear on a stagecoach and would never be heard from again.

    Grouchy – Will I get a suitcase full of stuff every time I visit and leave? If I visited often enough I could open my own shop. I’d call it The Indigo Suitcase… or something like that.

  5. XUP,
    we’re aiming for Markham, but it all depends on what I can find to rent during the three weeks I am there before my wife and kids arrive.

  6. sorry i didn’t get the chance to meet you more in person, but will miss your ephemeral presence in ottawa. hopefully the virtual connection will continue into your adventure in the big smoke.

  7. I would have liked to have wished you well but I was in Niagara Falls!

    But all the best in Toronto! Blog gatherings won’t be the same without ya!:)

  8. Squid – Thanks guy. Sorry to hear why you were otherwise engaged.

    Sean – Markham! Eek..the burbs. Good luck.

    Smothermother – Ephemeral, eh? Hmmm. I’ll be back ..maybe next year’s BOLO.

    Jazz – I HAVE lived there before and the city seemed to function pretty much the same as it did before and after I lived there..so I’m sure everything will be okay this time around, too.

    Pauline – Bah! Go on with you and your blarney. Maybe you could paint a cardboard cutout of me and bring it to all the blogger gatherings?

  9. I’m so sorry I missed the brunch, because I definitely will miss having you in town, XUP. I really feel that you changed the face of blogging in Ottawa. I’d been blogging for years before you came along, but never once paid attention to who else was on the scene here in town, and how local relationships can make you feel a whole new level of community.

    Your blog itself seemed to pull a lot of people from the Ottawa area into the comments section, and I can’t count how many blogs I read now that I first discovered by reading their comments here. Your posts were always interesting and thought provoking and I loved the debates here. And your blogger breakfasts were amazing – not just fun in their own right but they birthed a whole idea, a new way of looking at bloggers as a cohesive group who could share what they had in common, the love of words.

    I can only hope that we can continue to build this community that you started and do you justice around here. I hope you will be back to visit often, and in the meantime, I’ll be a loyal reader forever.

    Have an easy and smooth move, and good luck in the big city!

  10. Although I actually don’t really know you, I feel like I actually do … so I too will miss you XUP! I will be here in the blogosphere though, eager to follow your adventures as you move to TO. Wishing you all the best, Julie

  11. KS – Yup, for every silver lining there’s a cloud…ummm..errr.. I mean, for every cloud there’s a silver lining. Ya, that’s it.

    Violetsky – I know!! I can’t wait to spend rauckus weekends in Burlington.

    Lynn – Well gee whiz! I certainly can’t take all the credit for that. As I mentioned, there were other people involved in the beginning and it just snowballed — BOLO certainly took the whole community to a whole new level and I’ll be interested to see how it evolves over the years. I suspect over the years it will grow to include people from other cities, then other provinces, then other countries and it will end up being a several day affair and then BlogHer can just suck it!!

    Julie – At least we got to meet once!

  12. Aw, that was a lovely post XUP. I have to thank YOU for introducing me to the social part of blogging. For a geeky/shy person, I’ve made friends and feel part of the community in a large part because of your kindness (and of course bacon & eggs breakfast specials!)haha Ottawa will miss you. I will miss you. Thankfully, we have WordTwist. I wish Trashy and I got you a Maple Leafs chapeau to make your Toronto transition a little easier. Leafs-wear would perfectly complement your new plastic high heels.

    p.s. It is only a matter of time before I see how many Bloggers I can fit in my van – Toronto road trip anyone?

  13. Laura – That would be fun…taking the bloggers on the road! Thank you for your kind words. I’m sure I’ll see more of you in Toronto than I did here!!

  14. Bon voyage, mon amie! Perhaps it’s time to start thinking of a Toronto roadtrip, perhaps Septemberish? I had a great time at the breakfast and had no idea you were teetering on the edge of blubbering. You seemed cool and collected.